April 30, 2007, 12:00 AM

A good online marketer is hard to find

There is strong demand for executives who can manage all aspects of retailing online, recruiter Crandall Associates says. But the hardest jobs to fill are lower-level positions that require such skills as search engine optimization.

With virtually every retailer trying to reach consumers through multiple channels, retail companies increasingly are engaging recruiters to find managers who can oversee a multichannel strategy, including e-mail marketing, affiliate marketing, web merchandising and links to fulfillment systems, says Wendy Weber, president of recruiting firm Crandall Associates. “The hottest jobs are those with a deep scope and breadth of experience, top-level positions that call for someone who can do it all, or manage those who do,” Weber says.

In Crandall’s 2007 National Salary Guide to direct and interactive marketing positions, the salary range for an Internet marketing director with one to three years experience is $80,000 to $89,300, and for someone with seven or more years experience $93,800 to $122,700. Weber says many of her clients also offer online marketing professionals bonuses for achieving certain goals.

But the hardest jobs to fill, Weber says, are for specialists in such areas as search engine optimization, e-mail marketing and web site management. She sees a wider salary range in these positions than is typical in direct marketing. For example, she says, in a company with one web site the SEO specialist may be a junior-level employee earning $45,000 a year, while in a company with 15 web sites the position could require much greater skills and command a salary of $85,000.

While online marketing executives are in great demand, there also are more job openings for managers with merchandising skills, says Gene Manheim, who leads the e-commerce/Internet practice at recruiting firm Herbert Mines Associates. He says some Internet retailers that thought of themselves primarily as technology companies that sold a certain product are coming to realize the complexity of selecting, pricing and displaying products on a web site.

“Now they realize they need people with subject matter expertise, such as in apparel, jewelry, and home and garden,” Manheim says. “You can’t do what they did in the early days, which was take people from an I.T. role and put them in charge of home improvement.”

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